This cultural capital of Sri Lanka is a land of temples and stunning natural beauty. The last capital of the Sinhala Kings, Kandy is steeped in rich history and tucked away amongst luscious green hills. Kandy brings old Sri Lanka alive, as three-wheelers rattle down the streets and local women walk by in exquisitely coloured saris.
Kandy is located amongst the towering hills of the Sri Lankan countryside next to the country’s largest river, the Mahaweli. It is a city of stunning scenery centred around a picturesque lake. The city is bustling and alive with local arts, crafts and food stalls. It is not hard to totally immerse yourself in the smells, colours and fascinating diversity that lie round every corner. Kandy has an urban buzz, with busy street markets and restaurants, set against a backdrop of traditional Kandyan architecture and dense jungle.
Kandy has a rich and fascinating history and it was the last place to fall from independence, holding onto its freedom for a long time after the rest of the country. As a result, Kandy is still steeped in unique customs and culture which manifest themselves through music, dance and architecture. There is a sense of aristocracy in the elegant old Kandyan buildings, the colonial architecture and breathtaking landscapes that surround the city. Kandy has a perfect climate of a warm temperature with the breezes expected of the hill-country.
Kandy is a plethora of both cultural and adventurous activities. The famous Temple of the Tooth is Sri Lanka’s most sacred shrine and is where the ancient relic of one of Buddha’s teeth is kept. The golden roof of the temple can be seen shining in the sun on the north side of the lake. The tooth itself is kept in a golden casket and cannot be seen, so you visit the temple to experience its architecture and majesty. A trip here can be easily combined with the nearby Royal Palace, once home to the Sinhalese kings. The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, just outside of Kandy, is an incredibly impressive horticultural display and is most famous for its beautiful roses and orchids. The Victoria Golf & Country Resort is also just outside of Kandy and is a world-renowned course with fantastic restaurants, cafes and a spa.
A highlight, if visiting Kandy in August is the Kandy Esala Perahera, one of the oldest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. Expect jugglers, fire-breathers and dancers parading down the streets. The festival lasts for ten days and the main event is the parading of the tooth of Buddha through the city. This is a sensory feast of sounds, lights, food and entertainment and one of the most exuberant celebrations in Sri Lanka. As well as visiting the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, visitors to Kandy can use its location to enjoy trekking in the majestic Knuckles mountain range.